Rent or Buy?

Courtney Kerrigan

A better option than selling back

While buying textbooks can empty students’ accounts, renting them is becoming the newest way to keep some of that money in the bank.

Renting textbooks is not available at any bookstores in Kent, but Web sites such as, and are safe havens for students from pricey bookstores.

Sophomore hospitality management major Shanda Stout said she rents some of her books and admitted that it does save her money. “It’s nice for my LER classes because I’ll probably never use them again, but for classes in my major, I wouldn’t rent them,” Stout said.

Tina Couch, vice president of public relations for, said she estimates the rental Web site has saved Kent State students $145,583. While a marketing book is listed as $187.19, offers it at $53.49. The same goes for a psychology book, as the bookstore listing is $134.50 and has it at $42.99.

The Follet Higher Education Group, though, is offering its book rental service in all of its 860 bookstores across the country for the fall of 2010, including Kent State’s campus bookstore, said Elio Distaola, marketing director for Follet.

Although nothing is concrete, Michael Marquardt, director of Kent State’s campus bookstore, said the store is interested in the rental service.

During Follet’s textbook rentals pilot program last fall, students saved $2 million, Distaola said.

Distaola added that between now and March, Follett will be speaking about its rental service with every campus bookstore Follet manages. “The reality of college life is that students add and drop courses, and the bookstore is there eye-to-eye to remedy those situations almost instantaneously,” Distaola said.

Lisa Dubois, advertisement and IT coordinator for the Dubois Bookstore, said they have considered offering textbook rentals to students, but it won’t happen anytime soon.

Campus Book and Supply also won’t be offering textbook rentals anytime in the near future, a store representative said.

“Overall, it probably isn’t the best way to get textbooks just because if you rent your books then you aren’t able to sell them,” said Dan Essig, sophomore economics major.

Contact student finance reporter Courtney Kerrigan at [email protected].